Translation of Russian Text (Postcard)


LEO TOLSTOY ON HIS DEATHBED

Astapovo, November 7th, 1910

Let me give you a piece of advice: Leo Tolstoy is not the only human being on this planet. Yet all I ever hear you talking about is Leo Tolstoy . . .


Consider the death of the body in terms of God and His law. Your life, the life within you, encompasses everything within itself -- not only those whom you have lost but everything -- it includes God within itself. And if there is a God in your soul, then your soul is full, and there is no loss. And if there is a God, then there is love towards Him and towards people, towards those unfortunates who are in need of love.


If you believe that everything that has happened to us in our life has been for our own good, then that which happens to us in our death is also for our own good.

All of our misfortunes reveal to us the presence in us of the divine, of the immortal, of the self-sufficient which constitutes the foundation of our life. Death reveals to us fully our true Self. That which happens to man after his death we cannot and ought not to know. We could not live or do God's work if we knew it. If what awaits us after death were worse than what we meet with here on earth, we would prize this life even more than we do now, and there is no greater impediment to the fulfillment of God's will than concern for one's own life. If what awaits us after death were better than now, then we would scorn this life and make every effort to flee from it.

We do not know what awaits us after death, but we do know one thing without any doubt, namely, that the spiritual Being into which, according to Christian teachings, I have passed over is indissoluble, eternal, free and omnipotent because this Being is God. I shall go into that Source of Love from which I came and into that which I feel is Love. 'Into thine hands I commit my spirit.' That is all we can say, yet this too is something. For the person who believes in the existence of Him from whom he came and to Whom he is going, this is all there is, and nothing more is needed.

Leo Nikolayevich Tolstoy
(Translated by Benjamin Sher)


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Copyright © 1996 1997 Leo Finegold
last update 19 Feb 1997